Many manufacturers are struggling with navigating a new path from “the way we’ve always done it.” It’s frustrating not only for the leadership team, but also for their sales teams as well. When there are no leads coming in, there are no new sales coming in either, which makes it more difficult to attract top tier salespeople to help with the issue.
So what’s the fix? The answer is simple and complex at the same time. The easy answer is to forget about any lead gen that involves in-person interaction – and move toward digital marketing.
The good news is that a new path can lead to huge results, but it does take a lot of work. Conventions and trade shows may have worked in the past, but these may not be viable lead gen strategies for another year or two. By the time you start getting leads through these avenues, you could be facing a crippling loss of revenue.
Now is the perfect time to increase your digital footprint and transition some of those traditional marketing efforts into a digital strategy that can help you start driving leads. Though the true positive effects of a digital marketing campaign can take time, you can expect some immediate short-term gratification in lead generation.
Before we move forward, let’s take a look at a few statistics from the manufacturing industry when it pertains to digital marketing…
- Only 30% of marketers in the manufacturing space feel that they are using their web and social content effectively
- 59% of manufacturing marketers say that a fresh web design and mobile optimization play a huge role in improving their business after just one year
- According to manufacturing marketers, the largest contributor to increased sales success in the last year was content creation (82%)
Goals and KPI’s
As always, you start with setting your goals and KPI’s (key performance indicators). Understanding how much you need in new sales and the amount of leads you require to meet those goals is key. You get what you measure – if you don’t have a crystal-clear idea of what success looks like, you won’t be successful.
The next step is to develop the right digital strategy to reach these goals. Part of this strategy is deciding which tactics you’re going to use to connect with your audience and convert them to customers. As each company has a different position and needs, it’s important to understand what will work best for in your current situation. If all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail, right?
It’s about understanding who your customers are and where they are looking for help.et’s take a quick look at some digital options that should be in your strategy mix.
(We could write an entire article just on strategy and goal setting. We don’t want to tread lightly over this topic, it is the cornerstone of success moving forward. We will discuss in another article in greater detail, but if you have more questions on this topic, please contact us directly).
Once you have established your goals, KPI, and strategy, you are ready to move on to the meat and potatoes…
An Updated and Responsive Website
Your sales funnel starts here! This is your main hub for all your marketing activities across the board. Your marketing, your content, and your salespeople should all direct traffic here.
Your website should have a clear message about who you are and what you do. It should also have strong calls-to-action (CTA) throughout the site. This is where prospects should gain a full understanding of your capabilities and how you can help them reach their goals.
Your site should also be built to help rank well on search engines. Your traffic needs to be ready to receive that traffic that will be driven from all the channels in your marketing strategy.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is instrumental in the industrial and manufacturing space. It’s one thing to drive traffic to your site, but when you start driving the right traffic to your site, that’s when your funnel really starts to fill up. It’s the difference between leads that are a waste of time and leads from your ideal prospects who are itching to buy from you. It’s important to note that SEO is not a light switch and can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to see large jumps, but it’s an incredibly effective way to drive the right leads to your funnel.
SEO starts with the custom copy on your site. Your site should spell out exactly what you do and how you help your customers, but it also needs to be written in an SEO “friendly” way. When this is done correctly, search engines gain a better understanding of your site and can help increase relevant search traffic to your site.
Off-page SEO consists of but is not limited to citation building, off-page or guest blogging, directory listing, link building, and more. Off-page SEO continuously helps to raise your site in rank and helps you be found by people that are searching specifically for what you do. Whether people are searching for hydroforming, aerospace engineering, or large-scale stamping, this is how they find you.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
PPC is a highly effective way to drive leads today. PPC is built around keyword searches and the buying of ad space for those search terms. PPC traditionally is not the cheapest way to drive leads, but if need leads fast this is often a great solution.
It’s a great idea to pair PPC and SEO simultaneously. PPC does a great job of driving leads immediately, while SEO takes a few months to start gaining traction. Once your SEO is performing well, some companies are either very happy with the results of both working in tandem or decide to scale back the PPC and reallocate that budget back into SEO.
Again, each manufacturing company is different and has different needs.
Great case studies are a terrific way to convey the success stories of your clients. They should not only showcase your strength and capabilities but also that you are a problem solver for your clients. You should have multiple case studies featuring different clients and services that you provide. If you do stamping and aerospace manufacturing, have separate case studies for each, and multiples if you can.
Prospects can relate to case studies because it usually sheds light on issues that they are having as well, and it makes you look great in the meantime.
Utilizing videos is a great way to show who you are and what you do. You can feature large press equipment that your competitors don’t have or offer information and transparency about your team and/or your process. It’s about offering prospects a better understanding of what to expect if they work with you.
It’s simple and straight forward to tell a great story through video, but you have to understand who the video is for and the message you’re trying to send. Video isn’t just about drawing in prospects, it can also prove vital in the sales process.
Blogging is an essential piece to help attract new prospects online. It’s about driving the right traffic to your website and your sales team. Think of blogging as a never-ending stream of information being added to your site to help draw qualified traffic to you and consistently give your site the opportunity to gain rank in search.
It’s very effective to show off custom images professionally taken solely to share with your audience. These can include images of your facility, people, leadership team, products, etc. This makes it easy for people to understand who you are and what you do.
Now a huge thing to note is that not everyone is in the same situation and usually has a vastly different set of needs, so there’s no one size fits all here. It’s about putting together the right strategy to help start driving the right leads to your sales team and start selling.
The great news is that once all the work is done and leads start flowing into your sales funnel, all of this work should help close more projects as well. Once a prospect has reached out to you, you have a plethora of sales tools to help your sales team.
If you have a prospect that needs aerospace tooling and you have a winning case study that directly relates to their need, it will resonate with them. The same thing goes with showing them videos of your facility or your capabilities, etc.
These are challenging times for manufacturers for sure, but now is the perfect time to shift away from the traditional way of “searching” for leads and creating a better strategy for your prospects finding you.
In fact, the best-case scenario is that your digital strategy starts to gain serious momentum and we start to see a return of trade shows in the future. Now you have multiple lead generation streams coming in that support one another.
If you found this blog valuable and have more questions please reach out. A variety of manufacturing brands like yours have achieved great results with our marketing solutions, and we would love to offer some advice to help you drive leads and sales. Contact us today at [email protected] or call us at (248) 875-3414.